"Square cut or pear shape, these rocks don't lose their shape. Diamonds are a girl's best friend." - Marilyn Monroe, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
I love my diamond. I didn't even think I was a diamond girl. When I saw "Blood Diamond," I swore I would never participate in such a tainted trade. But, sigh. They're so shiny! And I know that sounds stupid. I know it sounds too girly to stand.
But I don't care.
I think I wasn't a "diamond girl" because I didn't believe there would be a guy out there who a) wanted to buy me one and b) that I wanted to buy me one (very key). I definitely didn't believe there was a guy out there who would be totally unphased by my mother's suggestions that are in no way subtle - or at all meant to be. My mom famously asked my brother-in-law if he planned to be a bachelor forever. (Luckily, he did not.)
And when my mom heard my fiance and I planned to get married, she called my not-yet fiance and offered to help. He said he was fine, he just needed a push. Boy, did he come to the right family.
He gave me a budget - very unromantic, but very practical, which is something I adore about him - and I went shopping. I wandered over to Serrago Roberts, where I saw a pretty halo setting that cost $3,000 without a center stone. The ring was gorgeous, but I knew I wanted a diamond ring with, um, a diamond in it.
My next move was to consult my best friend who worked in the diamond industry.
She recommended using my own setting or going to an antique shop and buying a ring there. Because here's the big secret: You can get a jeweler to put a stone in a ring for next to nothing. Or you can spend many thousands on a setting and not even get a stone.
So I told my fiance to skip the fancy setting and just focus on the rock. (Again, very romantic, I know. But it means something, this ring around my finger. It's a commitment, and I wasn't about to go about it half-heartedly.)
So I armed him with specific instructions about the four C's.
My friend told me you can let a few C's go, as long as you know what you're doing.
To refresh, the four C's are cut, clarity, color and carat. Cut is the shape - square cut or pear shape, yes? - clarity is how clear it is, which you would think would be key, but color actually has more do with whether a diamond is pretty. A very pretty diamond with a tiny spot in it has poor clarity. But if it shines bright enough, no one will ever see it. Color is the difference between a diamond that shines yellow or gray. Lastly, carat.
I knew I wanted a 1-carat stone. I wanted a diamond that could hold its own in my hometown. Actually, we went out to dinner in Philly recently with two couples our age, and I left with the realization that my diamond is half the size of both the women's - but who cares? I know how pretty my diamond is.
Interestingly, there is a price break between a .98 carat diamond and a 1.02 carat one. The 0.04 my not be worth the cash. Just sayin'.
So knowing what I wanted, my fiance went to see our family friend, he was almost ready. He handed her my ring and she rejected it. She called it a bat mitzvah ring - a ring for a 12-year-old girl, not a woman.
Come to think of it, that was our first big test as a couple. We had to out-argue a Jewish grandmother. Not easy. But we held our own. So what if yellow gold isn't trendy? So what if we wanted to swap the stones?? We persuaded her to "try." And the day she called back to say I was right, that it was gorgeous - well, that was an improbable day. And you know what? I was right. It is gorgeous. It's just what I wanted.
But you may not even want a diamond. Yes, it's traditional. But so what? Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is sporting the biggest sapphire anyone has ever seen outside of "Titanic" - and no one is calling her wrong. And last week, my guest columnist Jessica Belcher left off with the story of her silver ring that is forged out of a claddagh her sister gave her. Very romantic. Much more romantic than calculating a budget, I think; but to each her own :
Next week, the rest of Jessica's column.
Follow me on Twitter @Shesgonebridal or on Pinterest under Superbride. Also email me at AGomberg@pressofac.com with any thoughts or suggestion you may have . I'd be happy to include them.